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  1. #46
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    In my case, regular full system imaging is the answer. Currently, I use Acronis 2013 and it has saved me on several occasions. I do full images about twice a month.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madness7 View Post
    In my case, regular full system imaging is the answer. Currently, I use Acronis 2013 and it has saved me on several occasions. I do full images about twice a month.
    Welcome to the Lounge,

    Acronis is, indeed, a life saver. It has saved me a few times, too .
    Rui
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  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    I'm not ignorant of the fact that even an external backup drive can fail, so I use two of them, connected permanently to my computer via a USB3 add-on card.:
    Hi, Dr. Who,

    I'm with you big-time on the need for regular backups, but I'd like to add one further precaution. I'm no techie, but after owning and playing with computers for almost 30 years, I've made enough mistakes myself - and have seen others make even more - to actually have some of it penetrate my skull, and the one thing that was hammered into my brain early on was the concept of always having an "off-premises" backup.

    Having one, two, or a dozen external backup drives connected to a computer in one location won't protect data against fire, theft, a lightning strike, or even a CryptoLocker strike that might reach out and affect networked drives. If someone's house or business burns down or is burglarized, the likelihood of that happening at both locations simultaneously is near zero, so folks are a lot safer keeping their most recent backup of their home computers at work, and vice versa. For those who work at home, keeping the most recent backup in a waterproof container in a locked garden shed or at a friend's/relative's house is a way to achieve off-premises backup safety.

    Is maintaining a current off-premises backup a bit more of a hassle than just having a backup drive or drives always hooked up? Sure, but it's not that hard to do, and it's a heck of a lot less hassle than having to start your digital life all over again from scratch if your backup drives have been incinerated or stolen. Ever hear of a home or business burning to the ground and the owners losing absolutely everything? It's easy to convince ourselves that it's not a likely scenario, that such things only happen to other people, and that it's not worth the trouble, but that's the way I used to think until I had two HDDs die on me within about 18 months, the second one being the new replacement for the first.

    Thanks for all the excellent insights you post, and most especially for encouraging people to BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP. If I may be so bold as to adopt and amend a phrase from your signature file, "Off-premises backups rock!"

    Cheers,
    Al
    Windows 7 Pro, 64-Bit, SP1 on desktop
    Windows XP/Media Edition, SP3 on Dell laptop
    Windows 7 Home Premium, 32-bit, SP1 on HP Mini 5103
    Samsung Galaxy S2 running JB 4.1.2

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  5. #49
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    cmptrgy: Thanks for this article -

    Several questions: 1) How big of an ext HD do you think I should get (or how do I tell) for the Win 7 backup? I assume you backup and then disconnect. How often do you (personally} re-backup onto this external HD?

    2) To clean any hard drive, internal or external: is it sufficient to call it up on the COMPUTERS screen and select Format or do you have to use Ccleaner one pass security clean? - that takes soooo long (on my computer). It took 5 hrs for a 160GB external to clean. Or any other suggestions for cleaning?

    What is COA sticker?

    As you mentioned, the average computer user may have trouble with some of these concepts - I am so grateful for folks like you, cmptrgy, and all the others who both know and are willing to share with us. (I hope my couple of questions add to your Q&A bag for your other ordinary computer friends.)

    Paul
    Paulbyr in NC

  6. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulbyr View Post

    Several questions: 1) How big of an ext HD do you think I should get (or how do I tell) for the Win 7 backup? I assume you backup and then disconnect. How often do you (personally} re-backup onto this external HD?
    An image takes about 60% to 70% of your used disk space. Use this as a reference. You probably want to keep several images, so take that into account, too.
    You may want to backup your documents and other data more regularly than you image. If you want to do that, factor it into the space count.

    An image should be done with some regularity. This varies from person to person. I image once a week.
    Your backup regiment should include the documents and data separately. I sync every document automatically once it changes. Your choice should be based on what you are prepared to lose, in case something goes bad, either due to a hardware problem or a software glitch, and the rate at which your document varies. Only you do that, so make a choice. If you want more specific help with this, maybe tell us how you use your computer and how frequently documents change.


    2) To clean any hard drive, internal or external: is it sufficient to call it up on the COMPUTERS screen and select Format or do you have to use Ccleaner one pass security clean? - that takes soooo long (on my computer). It took 5 hrs for a 160GB external to clean. Or any other suggestions for cleaning?
    Unless you are giving the drive away, I don't see why you would need to do anything other than formatting. If you want to give it away, then every bit stored needs to be safely cleaned up and that takes time.


    What is COA sticker?
    It's the Windows Certificate of Authenticity and it's a sticker found in computers purchased with a Windows version that certifies the authenticity of the Windows version and includes the Windows key.
    Rui
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  8. #51
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    Thank you ruirib,

    Further on COA,
    I recently unfortunately bought a Toshiba laptop with Win 8.0 installed. I didn't think to search for the COA but when I saw I needed it to upgrade to 8.1, I couldn't find it. Is this a Microsoft evil scheme of a Toshiba one? Is there a good way to fix it (other than buying a Win 8.1 installation upgrade disk)?
    Paulbyr in NC

  9. #52
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    As I read about the need for off site copy, it occurred to me that I could put a copy into bubble wrap and keep it in my glove compartment or spare tire compartment. I don't keep serious secret data on my system so that's wasn't an issue but I think it may be a good move for me - what do your gurus think? By the way, many people don't read the shock specs for hard drives but the last time I read one at Western Digital, it was impressive - survives a 5' drop onto the floor, etc. People are all aware that a plugged in HDD mustn't be shocked. I think I will re-visit WD for the latest shock specs on my WD1001FAES. I might be unpleasantly surprised!
    Paul
    Paulbyr in NC

  10. #53
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    It seems that COA stickers are gone with Windows 8: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...b-158f9ad4482e.
    I have the same exact situation with a Toshiba u920t bought last summer. The idea is to use the recovery partition, if you have a problem. I imaged mine and keep an image of the original disk setup.

    You can try and use a key finder, such as Belarc Advisor or Nirsoft's ProduKey. I can't say whether they are effective with Windows 8, never had to try the key shown by either.
    Rui
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  11. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulbyr View Post
    As I read about the need for off site copy, it occurred to me that I could put a copy into bubble wrap and keep it in my glove compartment or spare tire compartment. I don't keep serious secret data on my system so that's wasn't an issue but I think it may be a good move for me - what do your gurus think? By the way, many people don't read the shock specs for hard drives but the last time I read one at Western Digital, it was impressive - survives a 5' drop onto the floor, etc. People are all aware that a plugged in HDD mustn't be shocked. I think I will re-visit WD for the latest shock specs on my WD1001FAES. I might be unpleasantly surprised!
    Paul
    The problem with keeping the disc there is having it stolen by someone. Probably could make more sense to keep it at a relative's place. I have seen someone saying that they use a bank safe for that. In either case, you probably should password protect your images.
    Rui
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  13. #55
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    A Solid Backup Solution

    Over the years, I've found the best solution for me is a monthly full disk image (sector by sector) backup (to an external eSATA 1TB HDD) followed by nightly incremental backups image backups until the next full backup. At the end of the month, I'll archive the prior month's backups another external HDD and keep for three months.

    This way I always have between 90 and 120 daily backups which is more than enough to bring my PC back to any recent state I'd like.

    The full backup cycle can be done on a weekly basis. But I found having many historical image backups, more to my preference... I guess I'm a control freak when it comes to my PC.

  14. #56
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    Paul thanks for posting your concerns in post 47. It appears to me your concerns have been answered
    I would like to add that having the COA information is missed too many times by the average computer user but when something goes wrong the typical reaction is "How am I supposed to know what my product id is?"
    What I do now is I run Belarc, sometimes Speccy even if the COA is still readable and applicable and create a factory restore disc at a minimum. I keep a copy of the pertinent id numbers and I leave the factory restore disc with the user; as happened in a couple of cases - something went wrong in which the factory restore disc was needed but couldn't be found - but at least the user could recall how they should have paid attention to when I did create it and asked them to save that disc in case of an emergency.

    On my external hard drive, it's a portable one and I do a full weekly backup of Windows 7 computer. It only takes 7 minutes.
    --- And yes the external hard drive is disconnected once the backup is completed
    --- I keep 2 backups on it; the current backup and last weeks backup
    --- I use the same external hard drive to backup up 2 other computers; one for my son's Vista computer and another one for my my brother's XP computer. There isn't any set schedule for them as it depends on when I visit them

    On my data backup, I have a batch file that automatically saves my data on a daily basis onto a USB flash drive
    --- I have batch files to do the same for my son & my brother

  15. #57
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    The best backup method will always be the one you're satisfied with & works for you.
    It's the point just prior to that which is the most frustrating.

    Most people who purchase computers don't pay a whole lot of attention to their recovery disks.
    It's only in time of extreme need do they concern themselves with product ID keys and the rest of it.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  16. #58
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    I agree with FUN. We must assume all accessible images are encrypted for ransom.
    I also agree with MEDICO that its is only a matter of time before I [or a family member] gets caught.

    So assuming a CryptoLocker attack is inevitable, here are my thoughts on how best to be prepared.

    1. Cloud based protection.
    One suggestion in these columns is a cloud based backup which allows roll back.

    I have not tried cloud backup and feel it will require a large amount of data transfer time and cost for a recovery process that is not simple or guaranteed.

    Views from users of this approach are welcome.

    Does anyone know how far back in time the roll back needs to reach? ie. The time taken for CryptoLocker to do its encryption work and demand the ransom?


    2. Local protection by manual intervention.
    Several members of the lounge argue for a regular backup/image onto separate media which is then disconnected.
    This is true, but I do not trust myself to keep the discipline of connecting and disconnecting a separate hard drive and waiting for what could be a long update time.

    3. Local protection by WORM storage.
    This needs a large network attached store [NAS] which provides 'write once & read many' [WORM] facilities so the backups are available after writing but cannot be changed or encrypted later. This is a local equivalent of the Cloud store with roll back. WORM devices are available now for corporate archive use but well beyond a domestic budget. Hopefully Seagate and others will see this as a significant market which only needs some internal code and a manual switch on the NAS to prevent written files from remote change after writing. When the NAS is full, we flip the switch and delete old files, or do a reformat.

    4. Local protection by second PC. [My current proposed approach]
    Using any old PC or laptop as a backup client, connect it to my local network, and give it access to the store which holds backups/images of the working PC. Maybe, give it access to all the drives on the main PC.
    => The essential issue is to disallow all sharing or access FROM the working PC into my backup machine.

    Then write a batch file to periodically create a new folder named 'Today-date-time' and copy the latest image file or incremental changes from the main PC.
    Repeating this process generates a series of dated folders holding copies of the main PC files and allows roll back recovery as needed.

    A possible weakness in this approach is the use of Windows share settings to block access from the main PC.
    I agree that any windows program in the main PC will not 'see' the backup PC or get access but a blackhat encryption program may be able to ignore the share settings and access files in the backup?

    Even better could be to use linux for the copying tasks in the backup PC, but this is way out of my skill range.

    All views to improve or help are welcome.

    I am also sending this to Tracy Capen as a possible topic for his experts.
    gw.

  17. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    And a Happy Thanksgiving Day, and Happy Holidays to follow, to you and yours.

    When I get a "Live One" I do take the extra time, to show them how to do backups of at least their important data files. I've even gone so far, with a customer, to where I drive to a retail store and pick them up a 32 GB or bigger Flash Drive to hold all their Data Files. Then I set them up with a shortcut on their desktop, to a Batch File using XCOPY that will back up all their data files to the Flash Drive. With the XCOPY switches properly set, only new files or files that have been updated, will be copied. This keeps the daily backup down to just a few seconds, after the initial backup.
    My own Backup batch file, using XCOPY, is now almost 20 lines long, so I get a lot more than just what's in the MyDocuments folder.

    The Doctor (growing old in Florida)
    I have found the Karenware Replicator to be a great little free tool for doing those frequent flash drive backups. You can get it here:
    http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp

  18. #60
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    Unfortunately since Karen's untimely passing, her tools are no longer being updated. I wonder if they might work with the newer OSes.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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